Stories about Narendra Modi

From India: It wasn’t us, Pakistan!

I was sitting on Facebook when a friend of mine, a very patriotic Indian, messaged me informing me of the airport attack in Karachi. I replied expressing shock and grief, a feeling he reciprocated. We, the educated youth of India who love the music of Atif Aslam and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, and have no qualms with Ali Zafar starring in Bollywood movies, only empathise with victims of terrorism anywhere in the world. Terrorism has been affecting our own country since the late 1980s; starting with the killings and forced displacements of Kashmiri Hindus, followed by a series of ...

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In Pune: Beaten to death for sporting a beard

Five years ago, in 2009, I was in Pune on an assignment. There, I decided to stay with my college friend, a Muslim, for a couple of days, for I thought it would be a good opportunity to revive old memories and spend some quality time together. But, providence had something else in store for us. On a chilly, dank night while returning from a rotisserie on my friend’s motorcycle, we were stopped by a group of seven people with saffron headbands worn around their brows, armed with clubs, hockey sticks, knives and above all, a flag of a Hindu nationalist ...

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Four misconceptions about Narendra Modi

India’s new prime minister is a man of contradictions. He covets foreign investment and embraces globalisation, but he also speaks limited English and harbours hard-line Hindu nationalist views. He is alternately described as a pro-business reformer and an anti-Muslim ideologue. Narendra Modi, who was sworn in on Monday, is a complex figure. Not surprisingly, he is also dogged by many misconceptions. Four in particular are getting a lot of mileage these days. Now is the right time to expose them. 1. Modi has been banned from the US since 2005 Observers routinely claim that Modi has not been allowed to visit America since 2005. Actually, this is not technically true. In ...

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Will Modi be able to make peace with Pakistan?

This is the first time since 1994 that a Pakistani head of state, during his trip to India, did not meet any separatist leaders from Jammu and Kashmir. During his two-day-long stay in New Delhi last week, prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, confined himself to conversations only with the Indian leadership. Is this a change in Pakistan’s policy towards Kashmir? We all know the answer. For Islamabad, Kashmir is very much an inalienable part of its foreign policy and domestic agenda. However, Nawaz understands that raking up controversial issues only accentuates the differences between the two nations. It leads to the wastage of ...

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I am an Indian and I strongly condemn the attack on Ali Hassan Raza

There is an ancient Hindu saying, ‘vasudhaiv kutumbakam’, which means that the entire world is one family. This saying needs to be revisited, keeping in mind recent events that have taken place in our subcontinent. Sure, there may be antagonism between countries at a political level but that is no justification for attacking innocent civilians on the basis of their nationality, or for that matter, their race, religion or the likes. We, Indians and Pakistanis, undoubtedly have a lot in common with each other. We are ethnically the same, we speak the same languages, have similar attire and cuisine and have a long, ...

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Is the BJP good news for India?

Notorious for being involved in the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in the Indian state of Gujarat, Narendra Modi’s victory appears to be a foreshadowing of the dark days ahead for anyone in India that isn’t part of the country’s overwhelming Hindu majority. Modi’s party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), unlike the Nehru-dynasty run Indian National Congress (INC), is a devoutly Hindu party that wants Hinduism enshrined in India’s secular constitution. This is something that not only frightens India’s significant Muslim minority but also the liberals of Delhi and Mumbai. This hype surrounding BJP is completely justified; in the early 1990s, a campaign by the newly formed party pushed for the demolition of a 16th-century mosque built by ...

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Secular India: An obituary

Dear Friends, With a broken and shattered heart, I have to bring to your notice that the secular India we all loved and admired is no more. It was 67-years-old. Just like secular India’s birth in 1947, its demise was also a tragic one. Verily, it came under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s car and got crushed on May 16, 2014. As expected, Modi felt bad about the incident and expressed his regret by saying, “I feel bad even when a puppy comes under the car. After all, I am also a human being.” Even as I listened to Prime Minister Modi’s magnanimous and heartrending expression of ...

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Not every Hindu or Muslim is an extremist, Mr Nayyar

This piece has been written with reference to senior Indian journalist Mr Kuldip Nayar’s article ‘Communal Politics and India’s election’ in this newspaper. As a humanist, I genuinely wish Pakistan the very best in the context of development and I have cited some pieces by liberal Pakistani intellectuals and made some statements about Pakistan in this article only in the spirit of constructive criticism. While I deeply respect Mr Nayar and share his commitment to India’s pluralistic ethos, and I have written a book aimed at addressing and dispelling anti-Muslim prejudices in the Indian context, and have written articles critical of Narendra Modi and the BJP, I ...

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Will Pakistan-India relations survive if Modi comes to power?

“The scenes will return, like deranged ghosts, to haunt those of us who were at the graveside to witness the burial of a secular dream. The screams of exultation with each blow of a pickaxe, each thrust of a rod, each dome that came crashing down. If there were no implements, the frenzied hordes would have used their bare hands to the same effect, so powerful was the poison that coursed through their veins in those few hours of madness” (Dilip Awasthi Ayodhya) It is now clear, from various reports, that in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly elections, 2002, Bharatiya Janata Party ...

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Is Modi trying to win the election or buy it?

A few days ago, the Indian English daily DNA published a piece on Narendra Modi giving details of what happened in 2002 after the train burning incident in Godhra. The write-up presented nine documented truths in an attempt to nail the prime ministerial candidate of the right-wing Hindu party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). But the article, titled ‘Mamata Banerjee Calls Narendra Modi ‘butcher of Gujarat’: Here are Nine Myth busters on 2002 post-Godhra Riots’, was deleted from the web page of the newspaper within a few hours of its publication, without giving any reason. However, Modi’s team and his followers forgot that once something is published on the ...

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